Edward L. Fang – NJT Senior Program Manager:
NJ TRANSIT is in the midst of a comprehensive resilience program designed to make its systems and infrastructure stronger, more resilient, and less vulnerable to damage during severe weather events or other emergencies. The Delco Lead Storage and Inspection Facility Project is one of our major initiatives in the program which received federal funding. In shaping its resilience program, NJ TRANSIT focused on projects that would help protect our transit system from damage caused by wind or flooding and facilitate the rapid return of service for passengers after storms have passed. In recent years, storms have become more frequent and more intense. Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 flooded Hoboken Yard and Terminal and, for the first time in its 30-year history, the Meadows Maintenance Complex.
A key goal of this effort is developing a permanent safe haven to store our rail vehicles and equipment where they can be both safer and more readily deployed. This project accomplishes those objectives. In the aftermath of these events, NJ TRANSIT sought to identify strategic locations to store its equipment in the event that locations where we keep our equipment faced an incapacitating flood situation. During this effort, we determined that the central zone of the Northeast Corridor, known as the NEC, was the optimal location for storage of equipment for a number of reasons. Unlike other lines we operate, the Northeast Corridor has a relatively wide right of way that is not subject to tree-fall, and its central zone is not susceptible to storm surge or coastal weather. The line is electrified, allowing both diesel and appropriately equipped electric vehicles to move under their own power. In addition, the NEC provides connectivity to nearly all passenger rail lines in New Jersey as well as to light rail service, ferry service, Amtrak regional service, and inter- and intra-city buses. Equipment stored there will be optimally situated for a rapid return to service on the Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley Line, and North Jersey Coast Line trains.
The project includes three main components:
- Construction of five miles of electrified track at Delco Lead that will be used to store rail vehicles during extreme weather events.
- Construction of a new service and inspection facility that will allow for light maintenance of cars and equipment and the orderly inspection of trains prior to their return to service following a severe weather event.
- Expansion of the adjacent County Yard will provide additional storage for rail cars.
In total, the Delco Lead, the Service and Inspection Facility and County Yard will provide storage capacity for 444 vehicles.
Robert M. Lavell – Vice President and General Manager, Rail Operations:
Whenever we shut down or curtail service—whether it be for a snowstorm or an impending hurricane—it takes time for us to restore operations. Part of what makes service restoration so challenging is the fact that the Federal Railroad Administration—and our own safety requirements—mandate that every piece of equipment returned to passenger service be re-inspected. One of the reasons this project is so critical is that it will centralize this operation for us.
The Delco Lead is a rail freight siding that runs parallel to the Northeast Corridor for about five miles from New Brunswick to North Brunswick, New Jersey, with the construction of five miles of new track, the Delco Lead will provide safe, resilient, linear storage for approximately 300 cars and locomotives.
A new Service and Inspection Facility, crew quarters, and employee parking lot will be built in County Yard. The 1250-foot-long, 55-foot-wide facility will be used for light maintenance and inspection of trains. Having this enhanced storage capacity, Service and Inspection Facility with direct connections to existing infrastructure will help NJ TRANSIT restore and maintain passenger service at normal or near-normal capacity following a weather event.
To further increase rail storage capacity and enhance operations, the existing County Yard tracks will be reconstructed and expanded. This will provide storage space for 120 cars in five storage tracks.
Edward L. Fang – NJT Senior Program Manager:
As we’ve seen, the Project provides a wide array of benefits for NJ TRANSIT and our customers who rely on us for safe, dependable train travel.
The Delco Lead Storage and Inspection Facility is just one of the many ways NJ TRANSIT is moving forward with a robust and sustainable transportation system. The projects in our Resilience Program encompass every component of our rail and bus systems and key infrastructure, such as bridges. Strengthening these elements will help achieve integrated resiliency and meet the current and future transportation needs of our customers.